HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) — Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph doesn’t exactly require preseason experience at this point in his career.
The 11-year veteran still showed up in a big way, delivering a standout performance in Houston’s 16-9 exhibition win over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night in NRG Stadium.
Joseph picked off Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the first quarter and spearheaded a dominant first half defensive effort.
“In man-to-man coverage call on, and I got a read on the play,” Joseph said. “They were running a spot-pick route and the pressure was pushing the pocket in and he had to get the ball out quicker than expected.
“Right place, right time.”
New Orleans gained a mere 60 yards in the opening 30 minutes.
That’s a kind of elite defense the Houston first-team squad delivered in the final nine games en route to a playoff berth last season.
But the group staggered to a slow start during a 2-5 opening salvo, and Joseph was a target for criticism with some middling play in the secondary.
His poor start could be attributed in part to an inactive 2015 preseason, when he was held out of game action to avoid injury. Joseph said the interception and solid showing on Saturday night are nice steps toward being an elite cornerback from game one of the regular season.
“I’m getting some, I wouldn’t say vital experience, but quality playing time,” Joseph said. “Just knocking the kinks out of things and fine-tuning by the time we hit the season.”